Keep calm and beat exam stress
The summer term is upon us already and the dreaded exams are lurking! A survey by Childline has found that 92% of children feel anxious about revision and exams. If you are the parent of a teenager sitting their GCSE’s this month I am sure the end of June can’t come soon enough. We are into the final straight, but it is important to keep up their moral and the pace of their revision.
With months of hard work and preparation almost over they are hoping that it will have all been worth while! It is no surprise that taking exams is one of the most stressful times in a young person’s life, particularly as their importance may have been drilled into them for months, sometimes years, beforehand.
Some pupils and students are able to handle the pressures: they may get nervous but they cope. Other people become anxious, agitated, bad-tempered and may even become literally ill or seriously depressed. Remember that anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. But make sure that they are anxious because the want to do well and not because they want to please you!
7 Tips to help beat exam stress
There are many ways in which you can help and prepare your child to cope with exam stress. These handy hints should be considered before any test your child might be sitting and it is not too late to sit down with your child and make sure their revision is on target.
- Make a realistic revision timetable and stick to it.
- Make summary notes of your books, notes and essays to make them more user-friendly.
- Think carefully about what revision routine best suits you. If you are a morning person do most of your studying before lunch, not late at night when you can’t concentrate or you feel too sleepy. Try answering questions from past exam papers or explaining tricky answers to someone else to make sure you have made sense of it.
- If you really cannot concentrate it may be because you are tired or hungry or just bored. Take a short break and come back to it 10 minutes later.
- Always ask for help if there are things you don’t understand, and especially if you’re feeling stressed out.
- If stress really gets on top of you, talk to your parents or your teachers.
- Finally, never forget that there is life after revision and exams.
How can parents help to overcome exam stress
It is not unusual for parents to be as nervous as their sons or daughters during exams. But parents have a major part to play in helping their children cope with the stresses of exam time.
- Make sure your son or daughter gets enough sleep and keeps physically fit.
- Help by testing your son or daughter to make sure their revision is working. Buy them revision books and insist that they take their breaks.
- Most importantly, parents need to lighten the pressure they themselves place on their child so that they don’t worry unnecessarily.
Kip McGrath Lisburn provides exam preparation
Extra help and support is available to ease exam pressures and build your child’s confidence at the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Lisburn. If your child is sitting a maths or English exam in the coming academic year, please get in touch to see if we can help. We aim to increase children’s self-esteem and confidence as well as their academic performance by offering tutoring to 6-16 year olds in Maths, English, Reading and Spelling. The centre can tailor a program of work to focus on any areas of weakness your child might be experiencing.
By Clare Rimmer, Centre Director, Kip McGrath Education Centre – Lisburn